Poor Richard's Almanack


Poor Richard was Benjamin Franklin's pseudonym he used to publish his popular annual Poor Richard's Almanack was published continuously for 25 years, from 1732 to 1758. An average of 10,000 pamphlets were printed each year for the colonists' enjoyment, containing practical Yankee witticisms we continue to use to this day. "No gains without pains" and "haste makes waste" are great examples. Young readers will enjoy James Baldwin's chapter book, The Story of Benjamin Franklin.
Poor Richard's Almanack

Poor Richard's Almanack illustrated

A sampling of our favorite Franklin quotes, by year of the Almanack in which they were first published:


Eat to live, and not live to eat.
He that lies down with Dogs, shall rise up with fleas.
Light purse, heavy heart.
Distrust and caution are the parents of security.
Fools make feasts and wise men eat ’em.
Never spare the Parson’s wine, nor the Baker’s pudding.
He is ill cloth'd, who is bare of Virtue.


You cannot pluck roses without fear of thorns.
He that waits upon Fortune is never sure of a Dinner.
Fools multiply folly.
Better to slip with foot than tongue.
Hope of gain, lessens pain.


Humility makes great men honourable.
Three may keep a Secret, if two of them are dead.
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.


Fish and visitors stink in three days.
God helps them that help themselves.
Don't throw stones at your neighbours, if your own windows are glass.


Well done is better than well said.
A good lawyer is a bad neighbor.


Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor liberty to purchase power.
Wish not so much to live long as to live well.
Search others for their virtues, thy self for thy vices.
Wink at small faults; remember thou has great ones.


Trust thy self, and another shall not betray thee.
Industry need not wish.


To err is human, to repent divine, to persist devilish.
Speak and speed: the close mouth catches no flies.
Have you somewhat to do tomorrow, do it today.


A true friend is the best possession.


No gains without pains.
He's a fool that cannot conceal his wisdom.
Everyone blames his memory; no one blames his judgment.


The wise man draws more advantage from his enemies, than the fool from his friends.
Genius without education is like silver in the mine.


Haste makes waste.
Gifts much expected are paid, not given.


A long life may not be good enough, but a good life is long enough.


Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too sever, seldom executed.
Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.
Love, and be loved.
A wise man will desire no more, than what he may get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly.


Many a man's own tongue gives evidence against his understanding.
Act uprightly, and dispise calumny; dirt may stick to a mud wall, but not to a polish'd marble.
Little strokes fell great oaks.
It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.


They that won't be counselled, can't be helped.
Silence is not always a sign of wisdom, but babbling is ever a mark of folly.
Dost though love life, then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of.
Poor Richard's Almanack was featured as The Short Story of the Day on Thu, Dec 19, 2019

Benjamin Franklin's famous quotations are featured in our collection, American Biographies for Kids. You may also enjoy visiting American History for more authors and their writings which helped shape the country.


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